5. Gods of Egypt (2016)
From the director of “Dark City,” “The Crow” and “Knowing” comes one of the worst adventure films ever made. It might be appropriate to repeat a phrase from the Last Airbender portion of this list and call “Gods of Egypt” the type of bad film that only a great filmmaker could make, but that doesn’t quite fit.
Alex Proyas is a pretty good director with a pretty solid filmography, but he’s pretty hit-and-miss, because for every great film he has made he also has a disappointing one. He struck gold with the one-two punch of “The Crow” and “Dark City,” and then took a huge step down with the double misstep of “Garage Days” and “I, Robot.” And when looking at his track record, it makes perfect sense that he would follow up his masterpiece with a complete shitshow.
Which is the perfect way to describe “Gods of Egypt”: a complete and utter shitshow from beginning to end that has gained a small but growing cult following in the same way of “Jupiter Ascending.” But both of them have the same core issue: they are just way too fucking dull for the laughs to make the viewing experience ultimately worth it.
Its reputation will obviously never go away, but it will never become a beloved cult classic kept alive by numerous midnight screenings and fan conventions.
4. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Bloody awful doesn’t even begin to describe this film.
If you have an ounce of respect for the first two classic films of the Christopher Reeve franchise, or for the character of Superman himself, then you better avoid this film like the plague (unless you’re an anti-vaxxer, then do with it as you please), because this is the worst thing that has ever happened to the character and ended Reeve’s tenure in the cape on a massive wet fart of a movie.
Never before or since has a franchise so great ended on such a pathetic whimper as Reeve’s Superman franchise. Every single thing about this film doesn’t work: it has one of the stupidest plots ever and severely lacks the budget to reach its ambitions in a convincing way.
After Superman rids Earth of nuclear weapons by throwing them into the sun (and surprisingly not killing everyone in the process), Lex Luthor decides to take advantage of all that nuclear sun energy by shooting a box full of fabrics and Superman’s hair to create the villainous Nuclear Man in a final attempt to kill Superman once and for all.
If that plot doesn’t have you rolling your eyes then wait until you see the actual movie, because it desperately tries to turn this absurd plot into an epic action adventure, but is so lacking in the budgetary department that most of the effects look unfinished at best and like failed test footage at worst.
The film’s only saving grace is that it’s so god-awful that it’s almost funny in a pathetic David Brent kind of way, but large portions of it are also terribly dull, so you’re better off skipping it and just re-watching the first two.
3. Son of the Mask (2005)
“Son of the Mask” is the sequel that no one wanted and no one should be forced to witness ever again. It’s a film that’s so atrocious that it could be used to torture terrorists and it would be a million times more effective than waterboarding.
It’s amongst the ugliest films ever created; it’s the type of film that will give people nightmares based on a single still frame, and seeing a whole scene will make you want to burn your eyes out and assassinate everyone involved with this “film.”
It’s not even one of those terrible films that could be classed under the “so-bad-it’s-good” banner – it’s just awful.
If you were given the powers to erase a single film from existence, then it should be legally required that you’d choose “Son of the Mask.”
2. Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)
“Highlander 2: The Quickening” might be the worst, most disrespectful sequel ever made. It completely ignores everything established in the first film, and creates its own contradictory mythology of utter bullshit and doesn’t even try to make it cohere with the lore from the original.
Now, Connor MacLeod isn’t immortal: he’s a banished alien from the planet Zeist. The world has gone from completely normal to Blade Runner-lite, the game that made up the entire story of the first one is never mentioned, and neither is the Price. Everything has changed and nothing of the old has remained.
It’s like if someone made a sequel to “The Lord of the Rings” and revealed that Middle-earth is actually Central Park, and that all the characters are in fact strung out heroin addicts that walked nine hours to throw a union ring into an empty can of Mountain Dew. Everyone would be absolutely furious, and everyone was when they saw this big pile of bullshit that they were served in 1991.
It’s a film that’s hated by everyone and their grandmother, and everyone who has been unlucky enough to hear its nonsensical title (what in the hell does a Quickening have to do with Highlanders?) knows that its amongst the worst pieces of shit ever created.
If that isn’t legendary, then I don’t know what is.
1. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1951)
“Plan 9 from Outer Space” might be the ultimate terrible film.
Its repetition has become so legendary that it might have single-handedly pushed into motion our ironic love of terrible movies.
Without “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” we as a culture might not have developed in such a way that most people feel more positively about terrible films like “The Room” and “Troll 2” than old classics like “The Godfather” and “12 Angry Men.” And frankly more people have seen “The Room” than “12 Angry Men,” and more people regularly re-watch “Troll 2” than “The Godfather,” and that’s most likely thanks to how legendarily terrible “Plan 9 from Outer Space” was.
There had been hundreds of terrible films made long before Ed Wood ever picked up a camera, but his unique brand of unforgettable incompetence kickstarted a wave of ironic love of trash that has led us to this moment of you reading this list, because you want to know if the writer likes the same type of shit you do.
In that way, Ed Wood might be the most influential director in cinema history, because more people have followed his example of hilariously awesome awfulness than have the visual perfection of Stanley Kubrick, the existential silence of Andrei Tarkovsky, or the universal poetry of Terrence Malick.
Ed Wood and his terrible films have become almost mythical in their legendary atrociousness, and “Plan 9 from Outer Space” is his crowning achievement.